Digitally Printed Backlit Signs in Three Easy Steps

Digitally Printed Backlit Sign test

Signs for Success triple strike backlit sign test

Digitally printed backlit signs are extremely effective,

working double shifts day and night, but if the sign is not printed well, it may look too dark during the day or faint and washed out at night.  Traditionally, backlit signs required single-color translucent vinyl cut into letters or shapes to be viewable both day and night.  However, with these 3 Steps, it is possible to get custom full color backlit signs that show well 24/7.

Lexan is the best material for digitally printed backlit signs.  It’s translucent, cut to size so it perfectly fits your sign cabinet, and it’s practically indestructible.  Other sign materials may get brittle in very cold climates, but Lexan is weather-proof as well as fire-proof and shatter-proof.  When we manufacture backlit sign faces, we start with a custom-cut piece of Lexan.

Step 1: First, we run the sheet of Lexan through our large format HP FB500 Flatbed Printer, which can handle material up to 64″ wide.  On the first run, the sign receives full color graphics.  The UV curable ink dries immediately as the UV lights just beyond the print heads hit the print.  It’s as easy as that, and you’re ready for Step 2.

Step 2: The Lexan sign can be loaded immediately back into the printer for the second run.  This time, a layer of 50% opacity white ink is printed over the image.  This may seem counterintuitive for the moment as the beautiful full color graphics get covered up, but bear with us, the third step will explain everything.

Digitally Printed Backlit sign at Night

Spokane First backlit sign

Step 3: As the Lexan runs through the printer to receive white ink, another layer of full color is laid on top.  This creates a total of three layers of ink: color-white-color.  These 3 Steps are what we call “Triple Strike” technique.  After much testing, we found this to be the best combination of layering inks to achieve perfect color in digitally printed backlit signs both day and night.

Here’s why: when light is shone on the front (as it would outside in daylight), the image in full color is vibrant and clear.  The white layer in between blocks the bottom layer from showing through.  However, when sign panel is illuminated from behind (as it would be at night when backlighting is turned on), all layers of ink are illuminated.  This produces a heavier concentration of ink since there were two layers of full color, which makes the image properly saturated and still vibrant rather than washed out.

While the sign could be installed after these 3 steps and have 3-5 years of outdoor durability, we highly recommend laminating the image to add additional years of life.  If it’s time to trade out your old, faded, or traditional outdoor sign for a vibrant backlit sign, the Signs for Success team is ready to transform your outdoor sign into something truly memorable!  Call or email us for more information on our triple strike backlit signs.

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